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The Forum > Article Comments > Why we should reject the CSIRO's 'sustainable' growth scenario > Comments

Why we should reject the CSIRO's 'sustainable' growth scenario : Comments

By Jonathan Rutherford, published 17/11/2015

Can the world almost triple GDP by 2050 and increase affluent 'living standards', while at the same time significantly reducing environmental impacts?

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I got as far as
"For example, a recent peer reviewed paper estimating ultimately recoverable resources of fossil fuel resources, including unconventional, found that total fossil fuel supplies are likely to peak around 2025, with the only uncertainty being how fast they decline thereafter."

Then I tried looking at the paper. I'm not paying $37 for nonsense but the idea of a fossil fuel peak has been debunked so often that I don't think there is any need to look at it. The peak oil story is passed its use by date and, in any case, only ever applied to easy-lift oil (oil in conventional reservoirs), not total oil supplies.

As for a coal peak Bwwwwhahahaha! With coal prices having collapsed you should tell that to the coal industry people. They need a good laugh. However, I'm confused over whether this article refers to a production peak (certainly possible in the near term) with an actual supply peak (completely impossible).

The rest of the article is not worth critiquing.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Tuesday, 17 November 2015 9:51:15 AM
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I think the article's conclusions are probably correct. Sure we have a lot of coal, oil and gas in the ground but it is getting harder to extract due to political opposition or greater cost with or without carbon taxes. At some point it will become unaffordable, that is we won't have enough income to pay the production cost. Efficiency gains will be swamped by population growth. Trouble is fossil fuels provide over 80% of our electricity, transport and heat.

CSIRO predicts happy times for decades. I suspect we will be miserable and anxious by 2050. If you don't see the signs you must be on something.
Posted by Taswegian, Tuesday, 17 November 2015 11:01:26 AM
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Actually Taswegion, sorry but no - the trends are pointing in the opposite direct. Cost of production has been falling, although we are a ways behind other countries. What you say is correct to a point but there are offsetting factors mostly better productivity, including improving technology, and project size. One of the notable trends of current low coal prices is that a couple of low cost producers (in WA) are trying push aside higher cost producers - cut them out of the market - so they'll be better placed when p;rices turn up.

Its clear that neither the author of the article or CSIRO has any real idea how all this works.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Tuesday, 17 November 2015 12:43:12 PM
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Funny how just in today's news Leigh Ck coalfield shut down due to depletion. Then BP was knocked back for drilling in the Great Australian Bight. A very difficult and costly place to drill perhaps a sign of desperation. But since things are getting easier I guess we'll be OK years from now.
Posted by Taswegian, Tuesday, 17 November 2015 1:38:11 PM
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Jonathon

"In other words this type of society needs to be replaced (not reformed) with utterly new/different social order in both rich and poor countries based on i.e. intense localism, new settlement geography, new economies and governance systems, and very different cultures what some describe as a Simpler Way."

Great idea. Would it be voluntary?
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Tuesday, 17 November 2015 2:50:10 PM
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Good points Tas.

Curmudgeon (Mark Lawson) you have a vested interest in spruiking the optimistic side of things noting your on-going employment/financial interest in maintaining the status quo, and supporting the corporate agenda.

Conventional oil peaked in 2005, no if's no but's.

Unconventional oil is a different story, we now face peak capacity and storage, the US is now contemplating underground storage in old geological areas.

Tanker shipping storage is at capacity, affecting new production storage and transportation issues.

What Curmudgeon fails to grasp is we are also at Peak Debt, this is driving lower capacity, lower demand and lower prices in energy and other markets.

The fracking US market (oil and gas) is in a debt trap, oil prices will continue to fall, probably into the low $30's making profit at these levels unobtainable, guaranteeing collapse at some point.

Good luck with maintaining any semblance of BAU growth in the economy when the fallout from this occurs.

Sustainable growth is an oxymoron.

Australian growth models by the CSIRO and the MSM are a joke, prepare for peak debt, falling house, commodity and general economic prices, our debt binge is coming home to roost. Poorer and less secure is our future due to ridiculous economic policies enacted since the end of WW2.
Posted by Geoff of Perth, Tuesday, 17 November 2015 9:24:20 PM
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